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Barry Tebb Poems
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TO MY WIFE by Barry Tebb

You buy my freedom with your love.

With every book you catalogue or stamp

My imagination hacks a strand from the hawser

That for three years has held it

In the grubbing estuary of mud and time.

Your early waking with tired eyes

And late return at evening, all

Contribute to the store of images

I love you for: the irony being

Your job is worse than mine

Your talent more.


I do not understand myself, the time, or you.

I cannot comprehend our love, shot through

Like flying silk with flashes of gold light

And the tattered backcloth of suffering.

Each night I remember our meeting;

My hair ‘like iron wire’, the grey dust

In the air of my house, the exact place

On the carpet where I kissed you

And how we talked on and on,

Too much in love for love,

Until the night was gone.


We acted out our love

By nearly going mad,

Gave up the jobs we had

To take a cottage on the moors

At less than garage rent.

For food we learned to pledge our dreams

And found, too late, the world redeems

What it had lent.

By night the world unpicked

The dream we wove by day,

Each dawn we woke to find

The stitching come away.


Two creatures from a bestiary

Besieged our dream:

A neighbour’s one-eyed cat

That prowled outside to bring

Its witch-like owner

With her tapping stick.

Was the Bach we played too loud for her deaf ears,

Or was it our love that howled her silence home?


We have re-built that house

With blood.

We have sculptured that dream

In stone.
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